The service will operate each weekday from early in the morning. As well as school closures, daily updates from affected nurseries and Children and Family Centres will also appear on the county council website.
“We will be opening our Contact Centre earlier from Monday, so that head teachers, nursery and children’s centre staff can contact us if they are unable to open,” said Deputy County Council Leader Lionel Barnard.
“They’re being given a special line to contact us, and the information will be on our website in alphabetical order from 7.30 each weekday morning. Parents will also be encouraged to check school websites.
“We are anxious to make as much information as possible during extreme weather conditions, and hope this will be another way of helping nursery schools provide information to parents.”
The move will also allow local newspapers and radio stations to publicise closures forced by bad weather. Some use their own websites to publish and update disruptions.
This year 18,000 tons of salt has been stockpiled – twice as much as last year – and is expected to be enough to cover all designated routes. The county highways team have 23 gritters standing by to salt the roads. Bulk bags of salt will be placed at key locations identified by parish councils.
Meanwhile the Government has moved to answer residents’ fears about being legally liable if they clear snow and someone slips over. A new Snow Code states clearly that as long as snow is cleared responsibly in line with the tips provided, there will be no problem. People are being advised to move fresh snow soon after it has settled, and avoid using boiling water, which will freeze quickly.
Lionel, who is also responsible for highways and transport, continued: “Many lessons have been learned from last year. We are anxious to continue providing as much information as possible during any extreme weather conditions.”